FA ban HEADING at Under-11s level and below to ‘improve the safety’ of football for


  • The Football Association will ban deliberate heading for Under-11s players 
  • Research found heading led to an increase in brain disease in ex-footballers 
  • Ederson not being substituted right after his collision was a SCANDAL – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off! podcast

The FA are to ban deliberate heading in all matches at Under-11 level and below in a landmark move to ‘improve the safety of our game’.

Following a successful two-year trial period, the governing body announced on Friday that heading for primary school age children will be phased out over the next three seasons, starting with U7s to U9s next term, U10s from 2025 and U11s from 2026.

The ban will apply to all affiliated leagues and school matches, with heading to be allowed again in games at U12 level, when children are at secondary school.

Under the new rule, a deliberate header will be punishable by an indirect free-kick.

In another change for players under the age of 12, throw-ins will be replaced by pass-ins or dribble-ins, where the player who restarts play can continue with the ball without requiring a touch from a team-mate.

The FA will ban deliberate heading in all matches for Under-11s and below in a landmark move

The FA will ban deliberate heading in all matches for Under-11s and below in a landmark move 

Research said ex-footballers are more susceptible to brain disease, with heading a likely factor

Research said ex-footballers are more susceptible to brain disease, with heading a likely factor

‘We continue to play a leading role in reviewing and improving the safety of our game,’ said the FA in a statement.

‘Our aim is to also create more technical opportunities for players with the ball at their feet, allow for more effective playing time, and to reduce the amount of time the ball is in the air during a match.’

The FA’s initial trial, which was approved by the International Football Association Board, came after research suggested former footballers are more likely to die from brain disease than other people, with heading a likely factor.

Headway, the brain injury charity, have praised the FA for implementing a ban on deliberate heading in the youngest age groups.

‘This is a sensible and pragmatic step that prioritises the health and wellbeing of young players,’ said chief executive Luke Griggs.

‘Repetitive heading of the ball is increasingly being linked to an increased risk of developing degenerative neurological conditions in later life and this decision reflects a growing awareness of the need to protect young players from potential harm.

Brain injury charity Headway praised the FA for implementing the ban in young age groups

Brain injury charity Headway praised the FA for implementing the ban in young age groups 

‘By phasing out heading in youth football, the FA is demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding the future of the sport.

‘It’s vital that football continues to evolve and adapt in line with emerging evidence in order to safeguard the brain health of professional and amateur players.’



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